GCSE and A-level students in Wales will not be disadvantaged by a new grade calculation system, the nation's qualifications board has vowed.

But qualifications handed out this summer cannot be challenged by students, except under a handful of conditions.

This is unlike normal years, when schools could request exam papers be re-marked.

Qualifications Wales (QW) said the new system will standardise exam results between schools to ensure a level playing field.

“Although these are extraordinary times, it’s important to remember that the qualifications awarded this year will be just as robust and of equal value to those awarded in any other year,” QW chief executive Philip Blaker said today.

The plans of school leavers and university hopefuls were thrown into disarray earlier this year when the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of all GCSE and A-level exams.

Students will be given predicted grades calculated using "the professional judgement of the subject teachers, including the head of department, about the grade that each learner is most likely to have achieved if they had sat their exams this summer", QW said.

But unlike previous years, students who are unhappy with their grades cannot appeal to the examination board in Wales (WJEC) for their grade to be re-considered.

QW said WJEC could consider appeals made by centres on certain grounds, such as allegations the grading process was not followed fairly, that there was a data error, or in claims of malpractice.

Schools and education centres must also rank its students within each grade, for each qualification.

"WJEC carry out a process to standardise grades between centres," QW said. "For this to be fair, it is important that the rank order of learners is as accurate as possible."

Nationally, the overall pattern of grades will be "similar to those in previous years to reduce the risk of unfairness for learners over time and maintain public confidence," QW added, and the new system will not disadvantage students who are protected by equalities legislation.

More information on the new examinations system can be found on the Qualifications Wales website.